The rabid enthusiasm of Baltimore shoppers for locally made and hand-crafted products is exceptional. Nowhere is that phenomenon more prevalent than at the craft fairs produced by Baltimore-based artist collective Charm City Craft Mafia.
This weekend’s Pile of Craft event will have it all on display. Held in two large rooms of the 2640 Space (St. John’s Church) in Charles Village, the free event will feature handmade lines of bold ceramics, quilted home goods, modern jewelry, silk screened apparel, children’s items, organic body care lines and more.
Many collections are made right here in Charm City, and most within a 200-mile radius. Each has passed through a competitive jurying process, which in part sought businesses aiming to undo stereotypes of traditional crafting, and to redefine the word itself.
What started as a humble attempt to offer Baltimore an alternative to stuffy, grandmotherly church bazaars back in 2006 has snowballed into a twice-yearly shopping extravaganza that’s much more fun than your traditional shopping trip. Snacks and coffee are offered by Red Emma’s Bookstore and Coffeehouse, and lunch is supplied by local food trucks.
Shoppers linger to eat, talk and enter a raffle featuring an impressive basket of handmade products. This year’s raffle, which is held to benefit a different local arts cause each time, will support Baltimore Montessori Public Charter School in Station North.
While the spring event is not quite as chaotic or panicked as its wintertime counterpart, the Holiday Heap in December, the Pile of Craft is still plenty high-energy. Many products offered are one-of-a-kind or produced in very small batches. Seasoned fans of the Charm City Craft Mafia know to come early and bring cash to snag the most coveted pieces.
For a less crowded shopping experience, you can wait until late afternoon to arrive — but know that many pieces will have already been claimed by eager craft enthusiasts.
Charm City Craft Mafia’s Pile of Craft will be held May 13, 2017. from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. More information can be found on the collective’s website.
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